The sunglasses. At the moment, I can’t quite get past the faux aviator sunglasses worn by Sir Ben Kingsley as he plays the uber-enemy The Mandarin in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. Marvel continued to roll out its character posters for the upcoming sequel, landing on Mandarin in a one-sheet shot we’re happy to share below:

What else do we know about The Mandarin, as portrayed by Kingsley? Not much, to be honest, and that’s surprising given the amount of information we’ve already perused about Iron Man 3. Just about every shot we’ve managed to see of Kingsley in character has him sitting. Will there be action shots of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) versus his archenemy? One would assume, but it’s possible that this version of the classic Marvel villain is more of a behind-the-scenes manipulator, a string puller who uses other adversaries to make Tony Stark’s life miserable.

The camouflage pants also are catching my eye. When I think of The Mandarin – thanks to a childhood spent reading Iron Man books – I think of long flowing robes and Asian mysticism. Kingsley and Black seem to be adding a military complex to Kingsley’s character … which would fall in line with Stark’s character arc from the standalone Marvel movies. But this shot just makes The Mandarin seem more modern than I was expecting. Again, it’s the sunglasses. They’re really throwing me for a loop.

In case you missed it, here's the Iron Man 3 trailer, complete with ominous Mandarin voice-over...

Iron Man 3 Trailer

Disney and Marvel will drop Iron Man 3 in theaters on May 3. In addition to Kingsley and Downey, Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes, Gwyneth Paltrow is back as Pepper Potts, Paul Bettany still voices Jarvis, and you know Stan Lee will be in there somewhere with a cameo. New to the Iron Man franchise is Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen.

Iron Man 3 is going to kick-start the summer blockbuster season in a big way. What do you think about this Mandarin poster? Let us know in the comments below.

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